Half a War. Book Review

warHALF A WAR by Joe Abercrombie
HarperVoyager, h/b, 512pp, £12.99
Reviewed by Elloise Hopkins (@elloisehopkins)

Thorn Bathu mastered the sword, if not her anger, and swore herself to a queen. But has she found her match in Brand? Is a man who was not afraid to swear himself a coward in the eyes of others with his decision about leading a warrior’s life enough to take on Thorn in all her glory and ferocity?

Grom-gil-Gorm’s sword-bearer, Raith, is certainly Thorn’s match in temper and battle-thirst. Each has their hero to protect and both were born to fight, no matter the cost and no matter who stands against them.

Princess Skara has the mind to win a war and finds she may need the help of the famous Thorn Bathu to make it happen. The two women could not be more different, yet a common experience and a common desire for revenge may bind them. And speaking of revenge, Minister Yarvi is still resolved to seek it on those who killed his father, and his enemies are moving ever closer to that end.

Half a War is the third instalment in Abercrombie’s Shattered Sea series and returns to place more focus on Yarvi than the previous book. Our hero from the first book in this series has grown into a more cunning character than we originally could have anticipated and his manipulations bring the story to an unexpected head as Mother War and Father Peace vie for the final say.

Some exciting twists and turns keep the pace moving along nicely as the war against the High King comes to its climax and a well-received spattering of new characters progresses the greater story. For those who want a fun, easy read there is action aplenty throughout, and those who want a little more depth and subtext will be no less satisfied with the themes and echoes that run through the narrative.